CHMS fails to meet AYP for first time

Published 2:12 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

For the first time since the benchmark’s inception, Charles Henderson Middle School failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards, according to recently released data.

“We’ve always made it, primarily because of those teachers over there,” said Chreseal Threadgill, former middle school principal and new assistant superintendent for Troy City Schools. “They’re good, hard-working teachers who care about the students and who get it done.”

The middle school was the only one in the Troy system that failed to earn the coveted “green cell” in all areas for 2010. It fell short in two areas: special education math and special education reading. Both Charles Henderson High School and Troy Elementary, as well as the overall district, met the AYP standards.

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While school leadership is celebrating the overall success, they continue to focus on the areas that need improvement. “There are some issues that we are aware of and Mr. (Lee) Hicks (superintendent) and Mr. (Aaron) Brown (new principal) and I have identified those issues and we feel very confident that we should do better next year,” Threadgill said this week. “We’ve added an additional special education teacher and an additional counselor.

“I feel like we have a good plan in place.”

AYP is a federally mandated benchmarking system that tracks a school and a school system’s progress in educating children to the “No Child Left Behind” standards. It began in 2003 and each year the benchmark – or number of students who must show mastery of skills across a variety of subsets – is increased. By 2014, all students in all subsets must test at 100 percent proficiency for a school to meet AYP goals.

The subsets can be tracked according to economics, such as free or reduced lunch; demographics, such as race or gender; or particular issues, such as students who score in the “special education” spectrum for learning disabilities. The benchmarks are the same for all subsets, meaning an eighth-grade special education student is expected to meet the same achievement benchmark as an eighth-grade advanced student.

“It’s just a matter of time because in 2014 it’s supposed to be at 100 percent, and its just a matter of time before all school systems are going to have red cells in some areas,” Threadgill said.

Still, Threadgill said he and the administrators at Troy City Schools aren’t accepting any excuses for the shortfall at the middle school. “That’s no excuse. The bottom line is we’ve just got to do a better job,” he said. “And I have a good feeling about this year. We’ve got a good plan.”

Threadgill said he and Hicks have met with each of the campus principals to review plans for the upcoming year. Only one principal, Juan Henderson at Troy Elementary School, is returning to the system. The others are new.

“The elementary school did an excellent job, thanks to the leadership of Mr. Henderson and his faculty, in meeting AYP this year,” Threadgill said, adding that the school had earned a red cell in special education the previous year.

“I know all of the principals have plans in place to maintain the success and build on it,” Threadgill said.